• The Show is Over, But The Fandom Is Still Strong!

    We've closed the book on Friendship is Magic (at least on the non comic front) and have been thrown into the great unknown. Generation 5 could be the greatest thing ever, or it could be a complete dud. All we know right now is that it's happening some time in the future thanks to recent news about the movie already in the works and Hasbro's Boulder Media recruiting for loads of mysterious projects. It's obvious that on Hasbro's end, they want to keep the momentum going on the official side.

    What about the fandom though? Is it time to pack the pones and move on elsewhere?

    Let's dive in below!

    The Reality Is, We Moved On Ages Ago

    Back in the earliest days of the fandom, we were pretty much 100% reliant on what the show was pumping out. If you go back and look at fan content during season one, it pretty much directly correlated to the show in some way shape or form. A large chunk of the art, music, comics, and writing was centered around events happening in the episodes themselves. Sure, we'd ship us some ponies. I can't even begin to describe how many Appledash and Pinkieshy things we'd receive a week.  It usually took place in the setting of an episode or "here's what happened after this episode" though.

    Somewhere around season 2, this was no longer the case. Sure, we'd write and draw based on episodes, but we also had a massively expanding side category of all the stuff we came up with. Lyra and Bonbon in their hundreds of different fanons. Massive expansion for Luna and Celestia who were largely ignored early on.

    Then came the rise of the OC ponies. They were always there, even during the earliest days, but they were kinda the black sheep of the fandom. I remember posting a compilation of "neat looking original characters" and getting bombarded in email with "This stuff is garbage! Stick with official ponies!" and various other demands to not continue.

    Things were rapidly changing though. Pony creation programs were appearing and people were adopting their own horse-personas. Even though most were pretty terrible, it helped spark a rise in artists swooping in to fix them. Converting someone's bright red nightmare fuel into a good lookin', much more pastel mare became the norm.  From this sparked the start of entire side fandoms built around OC's. Little Pip, Nyx, Fluffle Puff, and loads of others actually became people's home-bases within the community.

    Now days, fanbuilt stuff is the majority. Our Drawfriend Posts regularly have 30 OC pony drawings and 20 canon ponies. Unless a character like Tempest pops up and makes the entire art community get back on the canon train, a lot of what we do is built on our own little world.

    And that brings me to my next topic;

    The Pony Fandom Has Just... Evolved

    While Steven Universe, Rick and Morty, Gravity Falls, Star Vs., and all the other big cartoons of the age tend to largely die off during their hiatus periods, pony always kept a fire going while we waited. I won't lie and say our between-season gaps were as active as when episodes were airing, but compared to other fandoms we were still churning out enough content to keep a site like this alive for nine years.

    Pony evolved from just following a show into building a solid, fan fueled world.  People dislike correlating us to furries, but if you want an example of a giant community that doesn't need official content to survive, it's the perfect example. Everything about them is completely fan driven, and for the last five or so years, It's pretty much how we worked. With entire seasons leaking all at once, stifling the one-episode-at-a-time slow burn were used to, we still survived, and even thrived.

    Will things slow down as we move away from seasonal releases? Sure it will. I don't know many artists who plan to leave pony completely though now that things are over. Commission queues are still gigantic for the greatest among them, to the point where they've been closed for ages just due to the backlog. Animators are still hard at work creating new stories for us to enjoy. Comic series are chugging along with their own micro-worlds people obsess over. Hell, I have to yell at Makenshi to combine music posts or we'd have four a day.

    How do We Keep This Going? 

    The creative people among us are some of the most important out there. They are the worker bees of the fandom. The ones creating that art you love to look at, blog posts and compilations you like to read, the stories you get addicted to, and videos you binge watch.

    That doesn't mean all of you lurkers and regular people just enjoying cartoon horses aren't important though. If anything, you are the only thing that keep any of this running.

    An artist's job and motivation will die without you commenting on their work or commissioning them to do things. A video maker won't rank at all on Youtube without you upvoting and subscribing. Hell, this site you are on right now can't function without people spamming us with things to post and supporting it on Patreon so it can run at this ridiculous hourly schedule. All of these areas of the fandom require a huge time investment for the people involved, and the audience is what makes it  possible.

    In 2010 when this show was released, the idea of making a living on the internet for your typical writer, artist, or solo video maker was extremely hard to do. Since then, we've seen the rise of the Youtuber. The shift toward commissioning the hell out of artists to the point of it becoming their main income rather than a side hobby. The monthly support model on the various crowdfunding sites out there. We are in a creative renaissance thanks to all of these platforms where your favorite artist can draw a few things a week full time instead of one thing a month, or your go-to video can bust out in-depth analysis monthly instead of four times a year.

    It's all up to you though. Toss an upvote! Drop an enthusiastic comment! Provide constructive criticism if someone requests it. Throw a buck at a Patreon. From an EQD perspective, if even a 10th of the people reading here did that it would secure the site for years.

    Get Your Sad In, But Look Toward the Future!

    None of us wanted the show to end. Even people that stopped following it are popping in and joining the mourning as we close the book on nine years of awesome adventures with some of the best characters to ever grace the world of cartoons. It's over, but the fandom isn't over.

    We've still got so much more to do with the awesome template Lauren Faust and all of the others that worked on pony over the years have left us. We are one of the most enthusiastic and creative communities on the internet. Nothing will stop the pony train as long as we keep doing what we do, and knowing how addicted most of us are to these silly horses, I have a feeling we are going to do be doing this long into the future.